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Sirens: Symbols of Seduction [Hardcover]

Meri Lao


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Book Description

Oct 1997
* A celebration of the irresistible allure of sirens and mermaids in art, literature, and mythology throughout the world. * 160 beautiful color and black-and-white illustrations depicting sirens in all their various seductive forms. * An examination of the psychological drives behind our 3,000-year-old obsession with sirens.

Ever since the Sirens first tempted Ulysses closer to a rocky death with their celestial voices and forbidden secrets, they and their mermaid sisters have maintained an ongoing love affair with humanity's greatest writers, artists, and poets. With the torsos of women and the lower halves of birds or fish, they have long been symbols of the lure of the dark feminine, seducers who beckon men with promises of desires fulfilled. Sirens: Symbols of Seduction is both a celebration of Sirens and an examination of the psychological drives underlying this archetype.

Sirens play important roles in the classical writings of Homer and Euripides, as well as the modern works of James Joyce, H. G. Wells, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, and many others. Matching these writings with the vibrant work of such artists as Peter Paul Rubens, Hieronymous Bosch, Edvard Munch, and Rene Magritte, Meri Lao has created a feast for the eye and ear as seductive as the Sirens themselves. She traces their evolution from fierce, winged creatures who carry the dead from the battlefield to the elusive, sensuous mermaids glimpsed by sailors for centuries and immortalized in Hollywood by actresses such as Esther Williams and Daryl Hannah. Exploring our 3,000-year-old obsession with Sirens, Lao reveals the secret of their power: their song is the sound of subversiveness, luring us from the orderly world above the waves down to the phantasmagoric realm of dreams, and the harder we try to ignore what they are singing, the more we desperately want to hear it.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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...alluring and informative history of sirens and mermaids as interpreted by artists and poets throughout the ages. -- Donna Seaman, Booklist --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Resource 1 Aug 2000
By Sea Air - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In researching a paper I am currently writing on the mermaid in literature, I was surpised at the dearth of scholarship on this subject. Lao's book is more a coffee table piece than a scholarly discourse, but it is nicely researched and has pointed me to numerous literary works in which mermaids are mentioned. I must say that the illustrations are not nearly as interesting as those in, say, Ratisseau's beautiful book, but there is more substance here.
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book 9 Jan 2013
By Patrick A. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book far surpasses my expectations! Not only is it a huge collections of poetry, stories, legends etc. It has fabulous artwork and is in top condition!
This is a great collection on the study of Sirens, Harpies, mermaids etc.
5.0 out of 5 stars Sirens 6 Mar 2011
By Robert M Ulatt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very scholarly work with an expansive bibliography. More info on sirens than mermaids, but covers both subjects thoroughly. Lots of illustrations. Very happy with purchase
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